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Why Does My Airplane Smell Like It Has Been Drinking?







There are three things that you will probably never hear a pilot say. The first is, "I don't like to talk about my airplane." The second thing you are not likely to hear is,"I want to buy a small watch with no features." And the last, which is the real reason for this article is, "I just can't believe how cheap it is to fly."

It is not cheap to fly and one way airplane owners could reduce the cost of flying is to use automobile gasoline (autogas) in their airplanes. One could think that all the airplane owner has to do is buy the supplemental type certificate (STC) for a buck per horsepower, post a couple of placards, install an Adel clamp, bring fuel to the airport from the local filling station, and let the cost savings roll in. The flaw in chapter 1 of the "Airplane Owner's Guide to Riches" is the introduction of ethanol in autogas.


Who Decided To Put Booze in Gasoline?

The federal government has not mandated the addition of ethanol to au togas; however, some legislative actions and air quality mandates have resulted in ethanol being added to autogas. Some of the reasons for ethanol in au togas are:
• On December 19, 2007, the President signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of2007, which requires the use of 15 billion gallons of grain/corn-based ethanol (renewable fuel) by 2015.
• Individual states are free to develop their own ethanol fuel -blending laws. Some states are introducing legislation mandating 10 percent ethanol-blending in all grades of auto fuel. This action is not to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) oxygenate standards, but rather to meet the demands of local/national ethanol producers or other mandated EPA emission requirements.
• Individual fuel producers are free to add oxygenates to fuels to meet other EPA mandatory emission and
benzene cap requirements in high density population areas, or to comply with state law.

What Stops Me From Using Au togas With Ethanol?

There are two primary reasons an airplane owner cannot use au togas with ethanol. For one, the autogas STCs lor general avia tion aircraft prohibit the use of autogas containing ethanol. And, two, it can be dangerous.
The first point says the STC prohibits the use of autogas with ethanol. So, what's the worst thing that can happen? The prohibition exists because of the second point. The use of ethanol as a fuel is not inherently dangerous, but using ethanol in an airplane not designed to use ethanol can be very dangerous. The prirnary concerns of using ethanol in airplanes not design for its use are: